A million dollars

10/06/2015 | Follow me on Twitterhere

What would having an additional one million dollars change for you right now? Since my site isn’t frequented by bankers and the wealthy elite, I’m going to assume your answer is, “a lot.”

What about $100,000? $10,000? Every dollar counts when you’re building a company like I am. But what matters most, it seems, is how we conduct ourselves in the absence of the thing we think we need.

When someone wires me the cash for my first million-dollar deal, I’m not going to pack up for the day and buy a Ferrari—I’m going to double down and ensure that I don’t have to wait as long for the next million and then the next.

No sense in holding back the million-dollar work ethic on this side of the cash. The work is still (and will always be) the work.

An appeal

10/01/2015 | Follow me on Twitterhere

I’d like to see more black and brown folks in the January altMBA session.

The first two sessions have, to be candid, exceeded the team’s expectations. Seth and Winnie worked on this every day for more than six months before I even signed on to help build it, and it was months still before the project was launched.

People are being transformed and unlocked by the experience, and we recently launched a few things in preparation for the January session:

  1. Find out more about altMBA: this is an email drip campaign to let you know what to expect. Sign up.
  2. welcome.altmba.com: an information site to show you some of the results our alumni have seen.
  3. info.altmba.com: full program details on a single page.

If you have any questions for me, drop me a note. If you have any questions about the program itself, email hello@altmba.com.

I hope you’ll apply. Tick-tock.

Perseverance: the killer app

10/01/2015 | Follow me on Twitterhere

Creating things to share with the world—especially things that matter, and things that might not work—isn’t easy. At times, it’s tempting to throw in the towel or wish for better circumstances.

But in the same way that language is insufficient in captivating the emotions like music can, so too is a lot of business advice in underscoring the importance of not quitting.

Sometimes it’s not a tailwind that changes things, it’s your own momentum that sustains you. Keep pushing.

Two peas in a pod

09/10/2015 | Follow me on Twitterhere

…two pods in a cast?

It’s fine, I never wanted to be a comedian, anyway. The point is, I recently appeared on two podcasts (talking about Abernathy, naturally).

The first was Charlie Gilkey’s The Creative Giant Show, where the discussion elicited some raw passion that I wasn’t planning on sharing. Charlie is one of the most thorough and thoughtful people I know, and I’m grateful both for his continued friendship and the candid discussion he made space for.

The second and most recent was with Mr. Mike Street on his #SmartBrownVoices podcast. Mike totally gets what we’re trying to do with Abernathy, and we had a great discussion about why it matters. To boot, Mike is a titan in the social media marketing world and works behind the scenes with some of the most well-known brands in America.

Mortal danger

06/29/2015 | Follow me on Twitterhere

Two of the most dangerous things I’ve ever done in NYC:

  1. Drove a Uhaul the first time I moved here
  2. Drove a Uhaul the second time I moved here

Seriously, I can’t believe you don’t need a special license for that.

Who’s got your back?

06/24/2015 | Follow me on Twitterhere

Yesterday, one of my board members called to check in, to hear the latest Abernathy updates, and to discuss a marketing opportunity for the brand. The call was productive.

As we were wrapping up, he stressed the importance of the project to him, and offered to float us financially if things ever got to that point…tapping into his personal savings, taking on credit card debt, whatever it takes.

He isn’t independently wealthy or even in the best position to offer this—he’s running his own early-stage startup and might even have debt from grad school. And that’s what makes the offer even more significant.

It’s hard to overstate how important it is to know—to truly know—that good people have your back when you’re trying to do something important and risky that might not work.

Word to Marshawn Lynch, I’m thankful.

Say Their Names

06/19/2015 | Follow me on Twitterhere

Take a moment to say these names out loud.

  1. Clementa Pinckney
  2. Cynthia Hurd
  3. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton
  4. Tywanza Sanders
  5. Ethel Lance
  6. Susie Jackson
  7. DePayne Middleton-Doctor
  8. Myra Thompson
  9. Daniel Simmons Sr.

These are the names of the nine people murdered on Wednesday during a church prayer meeting by a racist coward in Charleston, South Carolina.

As the media pretends to analyze the motive and digs up uninteresting facts about the terrorist, I’d like to turn the attention back towards those who are no longer with us, and the families who will forever mourn their absence.

While we’re at it, this would also be a great time to take down the confederate flag that still flies above South Carolina today.

Outrage theater

06/18/2015 | Follow me on Twitterhere

Being on social media can be exhausting. Viewed through the lens of someone who cares about human rights and social justice alone makes you a strong candidate for antidepressant medications, but being connected to the pulse of global outrage makes it worse.

I think we’re still very much in the wild west days of social media. Tribes are slowly codifying and coalescing—both great words, let’s be honest—and I hope to see groups taking bold stands to consider and set agendas for the tribe members.

I mentioned before that social media is wresting control from mainstream media outlets, but the social media collective is still reactive rather than prescriptive. I hope to spotlight and amplify those noticing and leading and provoking in important places, and I’d love to know about people you’re listening to right now.

Creating spaces

06/17/2015 | Follow me on Twitterhere

Some of the most rewarding experiences of my life have come as a result of me being intentional about creating a space where ideas can flourish. Here in America, we busy ourselves by default and live life in between our commitments. This often results in half-formed perspectives on life and internalized viewpoints that are based on social conditioning rather than critical thoughts.

In our rush to fit in and comply with the status quo, this is a recipe for a closed-minded worldview when we dwell in circles of homogenous and self-reinforcing ideas. Challenging ourselves to grow and intreat new ideas is important, and this is best served by our ideas making contact with the world. This could be a blog, a phone call, a meetup, or just a casual conversation with a stranger.


06/16/2015 | Follow me on Twitterhere

This is “hella short notice” as the kids say, but I’ll be speaking at the Uptown Tech Meetup #WarStories event this evening at Madiba in Harlem, NYC.

What is it, you ask?

Every other Tuesday, we’ll be featuring kickass entrepreneurs to join us on the Patio and share their #WarStories.

Expect Happy Hour specials all night, great weather, & awesome people!

I’m sure we’ll cover my 3+ years in the belly of the beast doing customer support, serving as in-house CTO for Seth Godin, launching/running Abernathy, and of course my signature deadpan wit.

A few of people gave me an earful for not personally inviting them to the last event at which I spoke, and I’m still not going to do it this time because that’s an unreasonable expectation, but I feel like I should acknowledge it.

I hear and love you, my DearAngryFriends.

Events like this are interesting to me because they facilitate the rapid exchange of ideas and candid feedback. I know a lot of entrepreneurs and businesspeople who are a simple perspective-shift away from success, and I love being able to play a role in them seeing things differently.

Plus, I love (not having to leave) Harlem (where I live).

What: Uptown Tech Meetup #WarStories
When: Tuesday, June 16 from 7PM to 9PM
Where: Madiba Harlem 46 W 116th St. New York, NY 10026

Here’s the agenda for the evening:

7:00pm – 7:30pm | General Networking
7:30pm – 8:30pm | #WarStories
8:30pm – 9:00pm+ | Vibin’ + mingling

You can RSVP for free here.

photo of willie jackson, a handsome black man